December 10, 2013
Difference between Romanticism and Realism
Romanticism and Realism were two competing styles of artistic and cultural thoughts and
Practices. Romanticism was produced in the end of the 18th century, and in the first half of the 19th century. It is one of the most important trends of modern western culture. It is romantic literature of the Renaissance humanism concept of inherit and carry forward, and a strong backwash of rigid French classicism. Romanticism was a reaction against Enlightenment rationalism, academic authority, and the depersonalizing effects of Western industrialization. Realism is the product of the establishment and development of capitalist system in Western Europe. This particular social political and economic situation and the direct impact on the literature that make realism developed. Many different factors make the Romanticism and realism lots of differences in literature and arts.
Romanticism and Realism are two competing styles of literature. The biggest difference is the subject matter and theme. In Romanticism, the literature’s themes and ideas are reflecting supernatural elements such as mythology. However, in Realism the themes and ideas tend are reflecting elements grounding in the real world, focusing on more mundane issues and stories. Romantic likes to describe and praise nature. The authors like to express their own understanding of character in a simple peaceful nature, setting off the ugly social reality, and their understanding of good. “One of the essential features of nineteenth-century romanticism was its love affair with nature and the natural. They perceived in nature, with its shifting moods and rhythms, a metaphor for the sublime: the power and mystery of forces that inspire awe, solace, and self-discovery. In the broadest sense, the Romantic view of nature was nothing short of religious” (Landmarks, p329). The English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley is a famous romantic poet. the ultimate goal of Shelley’s ideal romantic is to create everyone have access to free happiness in the new world. He is a nature lover. He imagines himself as blue air floating clouds, flying larks in space, and even as the west wind of autumn season. He is the new ideal communicator. “Shelley embraced nature as the source of sublime truth. He took inspiration from nature and from the inconstant state of human desire. The best of his lyric poems find in nature’s moods metaphors for insubstantial, yet potent, human state” (Landmarks, p330). In Ode to the West Wind he said, "if winter has come, can spring be far behind?” he appeals to the wind and is a symbol of restless creativity.
Nevertheless, Realism literature pays attention to the life of observation, experience, and tries to make artistic descriptions in appearance and the details in accordance with actual life. “Realism novels of life, as it truly is, without idealization or sentimentality, it shows social ills, political, exploration of the complexities of human life and often critical of the problems of industrialization and urbanization” (Presentation, p7). War and Peace is the representative works of realism literature, which was, wrote by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Story centered on Russia's great patriotic war in 1812, reflects the important events of 1805 to 1820. Through describe four big families to show the features of the Russian society at that time. “In this sprawling narrative, as in many of his other novels, Tolstoy exposes the privileged position of the nobility and the cruel exploitation of the great masses of Russian people” (Landmarks, p360). Leo Tolstoy is good at using characters features to tell a social reality. War and peace is through typical characters to depict the works. The typical character make realism literary works created, in whole personality performance process, shows certain social lasting, highly values of characters. So the realism literary has the authenticity and